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Minnesota firefighters go to Colorado to search for missing hikers

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Four firefighters from the Twin Cities area are heading to Colorado this week to search for two hikers from Minnesota who have been missing since April 2, MPR News reports.

Damian McManus, 51, and his 18-year-old son Evan, from St. Louis Park, are presumed dead after they failed to return from a day hike in a remote park near Mount Evans, Colorado, about 35 miles southwest of Denver. Authorities found their car in the parking lot at the base of the mountain.

Rescue teams looked for the two after they disappeared, but snowy conditions and the rugged terrain hampered their efforts and they called off the search after just a week, says the Associated Press. Another attempt was made in early May, but no progress was made in finding them.

Andrea Bouzrara, a family friend of the McManuses, is helping to organize this latest search effort. She said the firefighters, from St. Louis Park, Edina and Eden Prairie, will go to Colorado on Tuesday, according to MPR News.

Bouzrara told MPR that volunteers have been going to Colorado every week this summer to search for the McManuses, and they think they've narrowed down the search area. They hope the firefighters, who all have experience climbing mountains, can finally locate the missing men.

"We're going out there for some of those perhaps more difficult areas," Hugo Searle, a St. Louis Park firefighter and high-altitude mountain guide, told MPR News. "The searching has to be done in a very through manner, and so you have to be familiar with search patterns, search techniques, GPS use, following lines and grids, and this is what we have expertise in as well."

The firefighters are taking personal time off to make the trip. Their travel expenses are being paid for by a donor to the search effort, who is also covering the costs of sending the other search teams this summer, according to MPR News.

Bouzrara said there are about five weeks left for searchers to find the McManuses, before it starts to snow again.

Family and friends have been posting information on a Facebook page to share updates about the search.

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